PARIS. — Spaniard Rafael Nadal inflicted one of the most humiliating defeats on great rival Novak Djokovic in the French Open final on Sunday, thrashing the world No. 1 6-0 6-2 7-5 to lift a record-equaling 20th Grand Slam men’s singles title.
Tennis fans would have been salivating at the prospect of another epic clash in one of the sport’s greatest rivalries, but it proved to be one of the most one-sided Grand Slam finals in the Open era under the closed roof of Court Philippe Chatrier.
The roof, which made its debut at this year’s rescheduled Grand Slam, was closed just before the start of play, sending fans and pundits on social media into a frenzy on which player would benefit from the indoor conditions.
Most thought it would favor the Serbian’s game against the 34-year-old Nadal, who was bidding for a 13th title on the red claycourts at Roland Garros.
But Nadal adapted brilliantly as he has done all fortnight to the new brand of balls and the much colder and wet conditions at this year’s event which started in late September rather than its usual May-June slot due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Of course, we were hoping for a great final and this is not going to go down as a great final. I am more surprised, I didn’t think Rafa was going to play this well,” Eurosport tennis expert and seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander said.